Court records released Thursday show that witnesses at the Power Ultra Lounge shooting in July heard an argument and people yelling "Crip" and "Bloods" before gunfire plunged the crowded Little Rock nightclub into chaos.
Court documents further reveal that a 19-year-old man, accused of being the initial shooter in the club, told police that he fired about 10 shots during the July 1 incident. Little Rock police say Tyler Clay Jackson fired into the nightclub crowd and shot at least three people.
The documents provide new details about the moments before gunfire started and outline an expansive investigation into the mass shooting. In total, 25 people were injured by gunfire and three others were injured in the rush to flee the club.
The shooting made national headlines and highlighted an overall violent year in Arkansas' capital city. In the aftermath of the club shooting, officials formed a joint task force to target gangs and violent crime in Little Rock.
Police said from the outset that the July 1 gunfire involved rival gangs, but the Police Department has not disclosed additional information on which gangs were involved. Department officials have said in the past that gang activity, in general, was a factor in an uptick in violent crime last year.
According to the court records, one shooting witness told police that she heard "someone yell something about 'Monroe' street gang affiliation" just before the shooting began.
Police have said previously that a street gang known as the Monroe Street Hustlers has been tied to multiple Little Rock shootings, including one that killed a 2-year-old toddler in 2016.
Authorities also have arrested Kentrell Gwynn in the nightclub shooting. Authorities said Gwynn was working as a bodyguard for a Memphis rapper who was performing that night at the nightclub. Gwynn faces 10 counts of aggravated assault, according to court records.
Victims of Little Rock mass shooting
Lt. Michael Ford, a Little Rock police spokesman, said the investigation into the nightclub shooting remains open. Ford said he was not able to say whether Jackson has any gang associations.
An arrest report said Jackson fired nine times "recklessly into a crowd" and wounded at least three people. He was arrested in October on three counts of second-degree battery and six counts of aggravated assault.
Before Jackson's arrest on charges related to the nightclub shooting, Little Rock detectives drove to the Faulkner County jail Oct. 11 and met with the teenager, who was an inmate at the jail.
Jackson agreed to give a recorded statement and told police he was at the club on the morning of the shooting, according to files.
Jackson said he rode to the club with several people, including a friend he knows as "Frog" and another friend he calls "Jay," according to court documents. Jackson told police those two -- along with himself and another man he called "Boo-man" -- all had guns inside the club that night, the records show.
"Mr. Jackson stated he had a 10mm pistol that 'Frog' gave him because 'they may see some people in the club they do not like'. Mr. Jackson described the gun as black with a gold handle," according to the affidavit.
Jackson said he and his friends were told that a man named "Chi" had spilled a woman's drink, the affidavit says.
According to the documents, Jackson said another person named "Mook" was with "Chi."
"Mr. Jackson stated he witnessed 'Mook' pulling his shirt up showing a pistol in his waistband. Mr. Jackson stated 'Mook' did this because 'Mook' and 'Chi' were arguing with Witness 'AP' and 'Frog,'" according to court documents.
Jackson said he saw "Mook" pull out a pistol, according to the affidavit. Then, he shot at "Mook," the affidavit says. Jackson reported seeing "Chi" fall down as he was firing at "Mook," according to documents, "so he does not know if he shot 'Chi' or not, although at this time he was the only person shooting."
Jackson said he shot about 10 times with the 10mm pistol and jumped behind a couch as more people began firing, the documents said. The teenager told police that he then ran from the club and walked back to his aunt's house in southwest Little Rock.
Detectives met with Jackson again Oct. 12, and he identified the people known as Frog, Boo-man, Chi and Mook in separate photo lineups, police said.
In early October, police also spoke to a witness who had been identified through video footage taken at the club.
The witness, identified in court documents as "Witness AN," admitted to being in the club and said he arrived alone. He said he walked around mostly alone and took a seat on a couch near double doors that led to a hallway.
The witness said one other person was on the couch with him -- a male who looked 17 to 19 years old. According to the documents, the witness said the teenager stood up and began "shooting directly across the room."
According to the documents, the witness told police "there were a lot of 'Crips' and 'Bloods' gang banging going on (yelling at each other)."
"The person sitting next to [the witness] was yelling 'Crips', and the persons they were yelling at were yelling back, 'Bloods,'" according to the court documents.
The teenager on the couch stood up and fired four to five times before he stopped, leaned forward and began firing again, the witness told police.
A video taken inside the club also helped investigators piece together details of the shooting. Court records said video footage allowed authorities to identify a shooter who was wearing a dark shirt with large "92" numbers on the front. Police noted that the lower parts of the numbers were in white while the top of the numbers were red.
According to the affidavit, a Little Rock detective found a Facebook page of another witness. It belonged to the man Jackson later identified as "Boo-man," the affidavit says.
The day before the shooting, the man had uploaded a picture of himself and another man, who was wearing a navy blue T-shirt "with the number '92' written on the front," according to documents.
Like the shirt in the nightclub video, the bottom half of the numbers were white and the top half of the numbers were red, police said.
In the post, the witness tagged "Tyler C Jackson" in the photo, according to the document. The link from the tagged name led police to Jackson's Facebook page, where there were several pictures of Jackson with a gun, authorities said.
In the interview with police, Jackson was shown the photo from Facebook. He told police that the picture was taken around 11 p.m. June 30, just before he and the others went to the nightclub and hours before the mass shooting.
Social media posts also show that Jackson had ties to 20-year-old Mashon Jackson, who was fatally hit in a shootout on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Little Rock in January 2017. Police later identified Mashon Jackson as a gang member.
After Mashon Jackson was killed, Tyler Jackson posted photos of himself and Mashon Jackson in which he called the slain man his "cuzzo," which is slang for cousin, and wrote, "I miss u mane", according to a Facebook page.
Tyler Jackson's current profile picture also has a picture of another 2017 homicide victim, Brent Cartwright, who police said was killed in a gang-related shooting in March. Tyler Jackson and Cartwright's relationship was unclear Thursday.
In March, days after Cartwright's killing, Ford wrote in an email that there were numerous shootings in the Northwest patrol division. Ford, in the email, said he obtained information that multiple shootings were gang-related and stemmed from Cartwright's killing.
Ford wrote that Cartwright "was from (HP) and they are now feuding with (Monroe Street Hustlers.) Make sure your Officer are aware that these suspects are using high powered rifles," the email read. His email was provided through a public records request.
Metro on 01/19/2018
Print Headline: Court files: Yells, then gunfire; Witnesses in ’17 club shooting report shouts of Crip, Bloods